Jul 25, 2012

Time is Running Out for Summer Interviews

George Washington University
If any schools on your list recommend or require on-campus interviews, now is the time to get out your calendar and begin scheduling appointments.

In fact, it’s a good idea to go to individual websites and carefully note all application requirements including admissions advice on the necessity of sitting for an interview—at your place or theirs.
And what better way to demonstrate interest while simultaneously investigating the college?

So what’s a college interview like? To begin with, they come in all kinds of formats and configurations depending on the purpose of the interview or who is conducting it.

In general, they are either informational or evaluative, meaning the college is either inviting you to learn more about what they have to offer or the college is sizing you up as an applicant.

Interviews can take place on campus or in your community. For example, some colleges send teams of interviewers to cities. They camp out in a hotel and invite students to come in. The format can be structured on a one-to-one basis, or some schools have “group” interviews. The latter is far less desirable than the former, but you seldom have much say in the venue or the structure of the interview.

Some schools offer phone interviews, online interviews, or more tech-wise operations will give you a “skype” option. This is becoming increasingly popular as it saves time and travel expenses for all parties involved.

Interviews may be conducted by admissions staff, students, or alums. Alumni interviews usually take place in the fall, after you have submitted an application or some part of an application, while other interviews are scheduled starting now and running through the summer or until applications are due.

The level of professionalism and value of the interview will depend a great deal on how much training the interviewer has received. Staff interviews tend to be the best, but alums and students often aren’t as tied to the college marketing program and may give you a different perspective.

Locally, George Washington University “recommends” an interview and provides lots of different options. According to the GW website:

“An interview is not required for admissions; however, if you are an applicant and elect to participate in an interview, it will be considered in the admissions process. We offer a variety of interview options, both on and off campus, including interview weekends in major locations throughout the country, interviews with local alumni and on-campus interviews.”

Interviews are offered during the summer and fall.  And according to the GW admissions office, the calendar fills quickly.

Here’s a little insider’s secret: GW posts sample interview questions and an interview evaluation form on a web page designed to support alumni interviewers.

While there is no guarantee your GW interviewer will use these exact questions, they offer a great foundation for any interview—at any college or in any context. I recommend taking a sneak peak even if you aren’t planning to apply to George Washington.

Regardless of who is conducting the interview and where, appointments are almost always limited and the sooner you email or call to schedule a time, the better.
If you wait too long, you risk being left out of the interview process. It’s not usually a deal breaker, but if you have the opportunity to market yourself through an interview, why not take it?

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